Friday, September 02, 2005

Of Auras, Art and Awe

Good morning, Happy Souls!

Are you feeling motivated this morning? I certainly hope so.

Some people claim to see auras surrounding other people. I'm one of them. Some Russian scientists have found ways to make images of auras. Their images are a lot more impressive than what I see.

Just in case you don't see auras, let me describe them to you. Have you ever noticed that the sun and the moon grow in size when they are near the horizon and shrink in size when they are overhead? That's because the atmosphere has a lens-like effect in magnifying their images when we look through more of the atmosphere (as we do near the horizon).

An aura is a lot like that effect. The aura surrounds a person's body around the edge just like the atmosphere is densest when we look across the earth rather than straight away from the earth.

Some people also see lots of color in auras. I see tints of color rather than lots of color. Think of this as being similar to the way that the sun goes from a white, golden light overhead into a reddish light at sunset as the particles in the atmosphere scatter and distort the light.

Auras change. I am most aware of my own. When I am feeling good and healthy, my aura is thicker and bluer than when I am feeling ill or weak when the aura is thin, yellow and uneven. I can instinctively appreciate many things about others that I cannot put into words simply by observing their auras.

I can also feel my aura. If I put my finger tips away from one another in my two hands at a distance, I don't feel anything. If I push the hands with fingers spread closer together, at some point I feel a little tingle as the aura interacts with itself. I've always assumed that this feeling is what George Lucas describes as the Force in his Star Wars stories.

I find that most people have pretty unimpressive auras . . . thin, uneven, with uninspiring colors and well . . . even blotchy. Then every once in awhile I see a truly inspiring aura.

A few years ago my wife and I attended an alumni congress for Harvard Law School that was held in Rome. The meeting included many memorable events including a marvelous black-tie dinner in a famous palace, training in negotiation skills and the chance to hear about the practice of law in many countries where law is less of a force than in the United States.

But no event made more of an impression on me than our visit to the Vatican. Our group had the good fortune to arrange for a private audience with Pope John Paul II. While neither my wife nor I are Catholics, we were much impressed with this good man and looked forward to meeting him.

The way in is pretty impressive as you pass the Swiss guards and are taken up the back stairs.

But I was even more impressed while we waited in a private chamber, seated in rows of pews. Several cardinals came in while we were waiting for the pope to arrive. One of them was a black man whose skin shone like the sun itself . . . and whose smile was as dazzling as any reflection from the sun I had ever seen off of water. But even more impressive was his aura. The aura was two feet all around him! Compare that to the typical aura I see which is about 1/4 inch. And the aura was white as though this man was infused with light from Heaven itself. I couldn't take my eyes off of him. To this day, I don't know who he was . . . but I felt like God Himself was more present with this cardinal than I had thought possible.

Finally, the pope arrived. And his aura was even larger and whiter!!! Truly, I felt like I was in the presence of remarkable holiness.

As I sat there spellbound just a few feet away from the pope, I immediately thought of all those religious paintings that show halos around the heads of saints and Jesus. Usually those halos look a lot like a glass space-suit helmet that extends several inches around the entire head. Contrast that with the stylized ring over the head that is sometimes used.

I had a large epiphany. Not all those halos were metaphors . . . those halos in some cases represented auras that the painters had seen on other people. That feeling intensified as I remembered that some saintly figures are captured with light all around them.

Why did these two men have such enormous auras of remarkable whiteness? I don't know . . . but I cannot help feeling that those auras represented something literal about their spiritual qualities. Perhaps when the Bible talks about God's grace those passages are describing in part Divine energy that sparks our souls and bodies in a literal way that some of us can see through auras.

In any event, I felt my faith immediately grow. As that happened, I was reminded of an encounter I had had a few years earlier with a retired priest. We had both been pumping gas in Colorado. He smiled and asked me if I was a Believer. When I said that I was, he asked me if I was a Catholic. When I told him, no, I was a Protestant, he responded that I should consider becoming a Catholic. "It's like traveling first class to God," he said. Now, I thought I knew what he meant.

I have always found the natural world to be more awe-inspiring than what humans make or the people I meet. But for once, I found meeting two humble men of God to be as awe-inspiring as any natural wonder I had ever enjoyed.

I felt like I had moved past any billionaire who hadn't yet established a firm and lasting relationship with God. I pity the spiritual poverty of any who lack that relationship and pray that all may experience and treasure that wonder!

Donald W. Mitchell, Your Dream Concierge

Copyright 2005 Donald W. Mitchell


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